We are a non-profit organization supporting Animal Assisted Interventions (AAIs)

2023 – 2024 State of AAII

Dear friends and colleagues,


Happy New Year! I have had the pleasure of being a co-founder of Animal Assisted Intervention International and the first and only chair/president in our 10 years. Our board of directors is amongst the best I have ever worked with, always professional, friendly, and open minded. I am so proud to have chaired a board in which people from around the world all got along and worked tirelessly to grow this incredible organization. When people ask what it is like working with this group, I always say that we all play well with others. As AAII grew and formed professional and friendly relationships with other organizations, I realized how very true my statement has been. One of our goals was to create collaborations with other well-respected organizations in the field. We have developed some great relationships and done impressive collaborative work. Shouldn’t that be the goal for all organizations? We have so much to learn from each other, and so much to share.


Another of our goals was to ensure that our organization was member driven. When AAII began, we wanted to fill a gap for the practitioner side of AAIs, to include dog trainers and advocates to ensure that practices were ethical, considered welfare for both humans and dogs, and created processes to guide practices.  We created working groups with our members to develop standards, competencies and an accreditation that met needs internationally. We asked leadership from other organizations to review our work and we received excellent feedback. It is all a reflection of you, our trusted members and advocates of animals. We still have a lot that we want to accomplish, and look forward to ongoing collaboration with our members, our colleagues from other organizations, and from practitioners from several related fields around the world.


As we move forward to our 11th anniversary on the 7th of February (2013), I will be stepping aside into the vice-chair/president position. We feel fortunate that Selina Gibsone will be taking the reins as the Chair of AAII. We have worked together in AAII since before AAII was an official organization. She has extensive education and experience as both a healthcare provider and a dog trainer. She is diplomatic, adventurous, takes only calculated risks, and is one of the best listeners and contemplators I have had the pleasure of working with.  I am confident that Selina will continue to steer our organization in the direction of stability and growth and continue to play well with others. The past decade has brought incredible satisfaction to my career, and I am so grateful that all of you contributed to make that happen.  Let’s bring in 2024 with a new energy, please help me welcome Selina Gibsone!




Melissa Winkle, OTR/L, FAOTA, CPDT-KA

Vice-chair, AAII



I am delighted to be taking on the position of chair of AAII, I have been involved since the inception of the organization and I look forward to navigating the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude for the leadership Melissa has provided for AAII, it simply would not have got to where it has without her. Melissa’s dedication and hard work have meant AAII has become a great organization and I am truly honored to follow in her footsteps.  As I step into the role of chair, I am keenly aware of the high standard set by Melissa and I am committed to upholding the values and principles that she has championed. I feel grateful that Melissa and the rest of the board will be alongside me as I embark on this new chapter.  

Selina Gibsone 

Chair, AAII